Bridging phonics and phonemic awareness to build proficient readers

Phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge are the biggest indicators of how well a child will learn to read in the first two years of school. Yet phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge are NOT the end goal. Our end goal will always be proficient readers. To reach that end, we must work to instruct children on…

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Cultural shift from letter names to sounds

Happy Spring!! The weather is getting warmer, the flowers will be in bloom, and the Kindergarten Center teachers are wondering when it will be time to teach letter names! For those of you who did not read, “Lynbrook Takes the Lead on Long Island,” the Lynbrook School District is revamping its reading curriculum and is…

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What is the role of decodable texts?

As conversations about effective literacy instruction continue in schools and on social media, questions about the definition, use, and purpose of decodable texts inevitably arise. I’ve even heard these books described as a “battleground”.  I recently watched a presentation on literacy to the school committee in a local district, where phonics teaching is currently layered…

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Lynbrook leads the way on Long Island

Over the years, it has become apparent that the Reading Workshop/Guided Reading model of instruction, popular in U.S. schools, does not produce the results promised. Special Education numbers have increased, and many children get labeled, unnecessarily, as having a “reading disability.” It is undoubtedly a huge undertaking to put the brakes on and start fresh.…

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Should we be rethinking reading instruction? NYC’s new Schools Chancellor thinks so!

Many educators in the USA are rethinking reading instruction. In 2019 less than 30% of fourth graders were found to be proficient readers. What has gone wrong for so many children? The core of the problem is that teachers’ approach to reading was based on a misplaced belief system called ‘balanced literacy’. They held understandable…

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Can Lucy Calkins’ changing views shift the way millions of children are taught to read?

The news has been spreading that Lucy Calkins, head of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP), has been learning about the science of reading and making changes to her guidance and widely used curricula. Throughout her career, she has often characterized phonics as ‘low-level’ work that should be minimized and has promoted top-down…

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